Jarrod Saltalamacchia, his wife and his three daughters just came into the media room here at the Winter Meetings to be introduced as the Marlins’ new catcher. It was a touching ceremony:
It put me in mind of the Winter Meetings two short years ago, when we last saw the Marlins introduce a big free agent signing:
So I guess that puts the over/under on the Marlins trading Saltalamacchia at, what, seven or eight months?
Of note: Jeff Loria was front and center for that Heath Bell presser in 2011. He was here today too, but not on the dais with the Marlins brass. He was sitting in the media chairs off to the far left, trying his best to be inconspicuous. Indeed, when I aimed my camera at him he made a point to sit back and low, apparently not wanting to be seen.
Question: does this presage a bold new era in Marlins history in which their owner is rarely seen and even more rarely heard? Or is he just sorta ashamed to be seen publicly?
The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.
Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.
Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.